It all started in the late 1950’s in the living room of Doug and Dot MacLeod. A group of Lutherans from Westborough and the surrounding area wanted a Lutheran church here. Someone had a connection to Pr. Albers, the mission executive of the Atlantic District of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and so they started lobbying him for a new congregation. In April, 1959, the Rev. Frederick Puelle arrived to start canvassing the neighborhood.
GSLC holds first service on January 17, 1960
On January 17, 1960, Good Shepherd held its first worship services. Eighty-four people gathered met in the Forbes Community House. The very next Sunday, we started our first Sunday School classes with 30 children. What a hopeful beginning!
The years since then have been full of growth, new ministries, and the changes that accompany a vibrant congregation.
A congregation always being made new
In 1976, the congregation went through a big change. Throughout the 1970s, while the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod became more conservative, Good Shepherd felt called be more welcoming to a wider variety of people. Our congregation left the LC-MS and are now members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. As a Reconciling in Christ congregation, we believe it is our call and our delight to welcome people of all ages, races, ethnicity, economic categories, marital status, gender and orientations. At Good Shepherd, everyone is welcome to the Lord’s table.
Our worship services have also seen growth and change. In 1996, we added a band-led service to our hymn-based worship services on Sunday morning. The band-led service is supported by our praise team, New Direction. Led by vocalists, keyboard, guitars, drums and a wonderful variety of other instruments, this service is less formal and uses contemporary music to praise God.
In 2010, we began worshiping on Wednesday nights. This half-hour service rotates through a variety of liturgies, from the beautiful flowing song of Holden Evening Prayer to the contemplative Prayer Around the Cross to the joyfully raucous Camp Song service.
Our latest addition in 2019 is our monthly Storytelling Church service. Held once a month on Saturday or Sunday nights, this worship service weaves personal storytelling throughout worship built around a particular theme. This worship service is touching, funny, and intimate by turns, and full of a sense of God’s presence in our everyday lives.
Over the years, our demographic has shifted from mostly young families to a diverse intergenerational crowd. Our thriving youth programs are now joined by a group for seniors called Older Wiser Lutherans (OWLs). Our music programs offer opportunities for children from as young as preschool all the way up through adulthood.
Since that first service in 1960, our membership has grown from under 100 people to well over 700. We are growing disciples committed to “growing, nurturing, and making disciples in Christ.” Come see what lies in store for us in God’s future.
The building at 183 West Main St.
We have had three different building programs:
1967-1968 – Our first building included worship/multipurpose space, 8 classrooms, an office, and a small kitchen.
1989-1990 – We added a new sanctuary, a nursery, an expanded kitchen, and a basement under the sanctuary that became more classroom space and a youth room.
2004-2005 – Our most recent project added a second floor for more educational space, a bell choir loft, and a real steeple!
During our 60 years, Good Shepherd has called seven pastors:
1959-1964: The Rev. Frederick Puelle
1964-1969: The Rev. Roger Polansky
1970-2005: The Rev Kenneth Bean
1996-2007: The Rev. Eric Wefald
2007-2016: The Rev. Dr. Kathryn Baines
2009-Present: The Rev. Jeffrey Goodrich
2018-Present: The Rev. Victoria Larson